When OKAY’s album hit the market, responses came out one after another.
The hip hop genre wasn’t a genre that only people who were a little manic about it could enjoy after a certain peak point. In the music market, it was one of the genres that led the trend.
Even among hip hop albums, OKAY’s album stood out.
It was on the same level as albums made in America, which produced the mainstream hip hop music. There were some critics here and there who judged that there were some unsatisfactory aspects, but those were ultimately just the critics’ opinions.
Even those critics didn’t hesitate to call it the most popular hip hop album released this year.
OKAY wasn’t a group in the idol genre, but the hip hop genre. Their conclusion that it could be seen as hip hop was expected.
They only had three songs, but the variation among the three songs was significant.
‘Go High’, which featured Do Wook, was an exciting song about jumping together and reaching a high place. It had easy lyrics, fast rapping, and Do Wook’s refreshing voice chiming in in between.
It was a song that couldn’t help but appeal to the public.
As for ‘Don’t Go Back’, which featured Ahn Hyung Seo, it was a song about not looking back on the past. It had a slower tempo than ‘Go High’ and the literary lyrics from the two rappers Jung Yoon Ki and Kim Won were excellent.
Furthermore, the high notes Ahn Hyung Seo showed off with his sorrowful voice soaked the ear like autumn rain.
Ahn Hyung Seo’s almost overly emotional singing method, which he didn’t dare try in KK’s album because it was a lot of pressure, was also new.
The final song, ‘Talk To You’, was Jung Yoon Ki and Kim Won’s story. The two rappers used all of their skills to make a song that belonged to only them. It was also the song that was most likely to excite hip hop maniacs.
This perfect song composition was born in the hands of Do Wook as the producer, but it was also thanks to recruiting Tendi, a rapper from a famous hip hop group who had recently started to pursue composing.
“Is there a current composer that’s decent?”
Jung Yoon Ki had asked while thinking about the album’s title song. Do Wook had casually brought up Tendi’s name.
Do Wook knew very well that Tendi had the most popular and sophisticated music when it came to the hip hop genre. He would even later become a maker of hit songs that were on par with Brave Only Child’s songs.
It wouldn’t be bad for OKAY to be his starting point.
Jung Yoon Ki reacted to Do Wook bringing up the name ‘Tendi’.
Tendi was also a judge on Show Me the Honey.
Jung Yoon Ki actively used his Show Me the Honey connection to contact Tendi and got a song. The song Tendi had sent fit unbelievably well with the image OKAY had in mind for their title song.
And so Tendi became involved in OKAY’s album.
“The reactions are…very good. It’s still trending,“
Jung Yoon Ki muttered with a dazed voice as he looked at his cellphone.
3 days had passed since the album release. After the recorded music broadcast aired yesterday, OKAY’s group name, KK, Go High, etc. started to trend again.
For a few days it often showed up on the trending list. It wasn’t something that would briefly be a hot topic then disappear.
(TL Note: The first time is said in Korean, the second time is said in English.)
Kim Won yelled, excited.
Today was the day OKAY was having a public fan autograph session at the ‘7days’ store in Myungdong to celebrate the album release. It was a fan autograph signing involving the OKAY members Jung Yoon Ki and Kim Won as well as Do Wook who was the main 7days model.
The three of them were in the area of the store that was closed off for today’s autograph signing, waiting for it to start.
“It seemed like a lot of people were gathered when I looked as we entered from the back earlier,”
Do Wook said in a worried voice as he glanced outside. Gu Chul Min nodded his head and replied that the security team were on high alert too over the swarm of people that came for the public fan autograph session.
As the OKAY activities started, Do Wook was suddenly sensing that their recognizability had gone up one level ever since their 2nd full-length album.
They realized after coming to Myungdong today that it was true that OKAY’s songs were playing in clubs, clothing stores, and on the street no matter where you went.
‘The expectation they have for KK probably directly transferred to OKAY as well…’
Furthermore, OKAY included people of the public who were resistant to idol music through the genre of hip hop.
“Let’s head out now. It’s time.”
Do Wook, Jung Yoon Ki, and Kim Won got up from their seats when Gu Chul Min spoke. They could see the outside of the store from the stairway that led to the 1st floor where the fan autograph session would be taking place.
“Oh my gosh.”
There were as many people gathered in front of the 7days store as during the Christmas season when there are the most people in the streets of Myungdong.
“All that is…”
Jung Yoon Ki was speechless as he looked down.
They had seen articles that had titles like ‘The crowd gathered for OKAY fan autograph session’ that were being posted in real time, but it was strange seeing it with their own eyes.
“Will we be able to do the autograph session?”
“The fans as well as people passing by are going crazy trying to see you guys…I think we should end this as soon as possible”
It was a big enough crowd to cause concern for accidents. The nearby police had already been dispatched.
Do Wook nodded his head. It seemed that the autograph session with the 150 people who were picked after buying 7days clothes had to progress swiftly.
He was also thinking that he should give as much fan service as possible so that the fans wouldn’t be disappointed in the fast-paced autograph session.
“Let’s head down quickly.”
When Do Wook said that, Jung Yoon Ki and Kim Won quickened their steps.
In front of the 7days store, which was a 4-story building, a picture of OKAY was hanging. OKAY started their autograph session in front of a picture of themselves that was hung in the center of Myungdong.
It wasn’t just Myungdong that had a large picture of OKAY hanging up. An OKAY picture was also hanging in the middle of Gangnam. If it were a place that had a 7days advertisement, there was a large cutout of OKAY included regardless of where it was.
The effect of the publicity they received after partnering with 7days was tremendous.
Of course, the advertising 7days enjoyed thanks to KK was also astounding.
The 7days sneakers that the members wore anytime anywhere throughout the OKAY active period for things like music broadcasts and fan autograph sessions were gaining sensational popularity.
The high top sneakers came in two different versions, white and black, and were popular enough among students and people in their 20’s to be called the nation’s sneaker.
When walking down the street, you could see one in five people wearing the 7days high top sneakers. It was a surprising situation for 7days, which was not a brand that specialized in shoes.
Of course they had launched these sneakers because demand for high top sneakers was increasing like a trend, but the reason 7days’ sneakers dominated as the main brand among countless high top lines was because OKAY was the very first to perform on stage wearing high tops.
Also, the phrase ‘will be OKAY’ that was on every clothing released by 7days for the OKAY line spread like a trend, and you could see clothes with the same phrase being sold all throughout the shopping mall.
Especially the sweater Do Wook was wearing already sold over 100,000 units.
It was a job that demonstrated that the group OKAY as well as Do Wook could take on the role of a fashion leader.
With that, the short but strong week-long OKAY activities came to an end.
As for Kim Won and Jung Yoon Ki, the response was at the peak of its hype, so they were disappointed the activities couldn’t last longer.
The three songs continued to be ranked first, third, and 10th on the music charts, respectively.
Fandom was important, but they realized once again how impactful it was if the public was moved.
However, KK had their first concert tour starting at Seoul and going all the way to Japan and China, so it wasn’t possible to do any more activities.
“It seems like the songs will continue to maintain their rankings even if we don’t have activities.”
The set list for the first concert had just come out.
The members gathered to practice the songs’ choreography that they hadn’t had before to familiarize themselves with it.
Ahn Hyung Seo said to Jung Yoon Ki, who was looking at the music chart during the brief break while choreographer Noh Yoon Tae left the room.
“Yeah, I think that’ll be the case too.”
Jung Yoon Ki scratched the back of his head.
“I’m amazed and happy that ‘Don’t Go Back’ is continuing to stay at 2nd and 3rd place too.”
Ahn Hyung Seo said as he pointed to the song he was featured in.
The OKAY unit album had a different purpose than KK’s normal album. It demonstrated the music style the members wanted to do a little more clearly.
Their affection for the album definitely increased significantly as their involvement increased.
As he looked at Ahn Hyung Seo and Jung Yoon Ki, Do Wook thought about the next KK album that they would be releasing next year.
‘We’ll probably emphasize the fact that it’s a group, but I think it’d be good if it were made into an album that shows a little more individuality.’
Park Tae Hyung handed Do Wook something.
It was a red ginseng drink.
“Ah. Thank you.”
Smiling, Do Wook accepted the red ginseng drink. Park Tae Hyung looked after Do Wook’s health, often offering red ginseng packs or nutritional supplements to him even though it had been a while since he got better.
He didn’t say anything in particular, but Park Tae Hyung, who was able to debut with Do Wook’s help, was always thankful to Do Wook.
Do Wook understood how Park Tae Hyung felt so he accepted the things Park Tae Hyung offered him without hesitation and with a grateful heart.
“But Sa Bang Shin Hwa’s album releases today. I think we’ll fall behind on the rankings,”
Jung Yoon Ki muttering could be heard.
Ahn Hyung Seo couldn’t say much against his statement of falling behind in rankings because of Sa Bang Shin Hwa.
“I’m sure it’ll be super cool this time too.”
“I saw the teaser. It was dope.”
Sa Bang Shin Hwa was a group that devoured the idol fandom with their powerful performance.
Do Wook thought quietly,
‘Sa Bang Shin Hwa will go downhill around next year anyways.’
Bad rumors started to surround Sa Bang Shin Hwa as the discord among the members grew. The discord of the members soon led to a division in the fandom.
They were a large group that won the grand prize for two consecutive years after all. If there were an uphill path, there was a downhill path. However, Sa Bang Shin Hwa did not come down slowly. Their popularity dropped so rapidly to the point that it could be called a plunge.
Sa Bang Shin Hwa brought it upon themselves. Ara Entertainment was trying to place M2M in a position to succeed Sa Bang Shin Hwa, so they didn’t feel a need to further invest into Sa Bang Shin Hwa.
‘However, currently M2M is not able to perfectly claim their place because of KK.’
As a matter of fact, depending on how M2M would go about their next album, it would decisively divide KK and M2M.
And in that regard, Do Wook was certain of KK’s victory. KK’s current rise wasn’t one that could be stopped by conventional methods.
As actors, the personal fight between Seo Kang Jun and Do Wook still didn’t have a winner, but there was one in the case of M2M and KK.
‘Even Sa Bang Shin Hwa…it’d be good if KK could surpass them before they trip over their own foot.’
Do Wook thought as he tossed the red ginger drink he finished into the trash can.
Sa Bang Shin Hwa, who was first in fandom strength and size even with the current album but was slightly losing popularity, would soon fall behind OKAY in the music charts anyways.
However, Sa Bang Shin Hwa had an unclimbable wall that was their album sales volume.
‘We’ll see who’s the winner after next year’s KK album.’
Do Wook planned how to gradually take down Ara Entertainment, Seo Kang Jun and Director Seo Joong Won as he thought.
He had thought of something to achieve that.
At that moment, the members’ cellphones rang at the same time. It was a group message from Manager Oh Baek Ho.
It said that KK was to be the sub model in an advertisement for L Duty Free Shop that Sa Bang Shin Hwa was the main model for.